Ted Strickland on Mitt Romney on military voting in Ohio: "He is a dishonest man

 ·  John Michael Spinelli, Examiner.com   ·   Link to Article

With 92 days remaining until Election Day on November 6, the accusations Team Romney and Team Obama were are hurling at each other ratcheted up Monday, when Republicans accused President Obama of being "despicable" by challenging in a federal court an Ohio election law that provides three extra days of early, in-person voting to active military voters and their families while simultaneously denying the same privilege to everyone else, including over 900 thousand Buckeye veterans.

In the give and take of the day, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Co-Chairman of President Obama's reelection effort, was on the giving end. He called Mitt Romney a "dishonest man" if he knows the facts but says something different.

Democrats in Ohio and other states where GOP legislatures and governors have teamed up to change voter and election laws, fear the suppression of votes from traditional Democratic constituencies like seniors, students and minorities this fall as a result of efforts to make it harder to register to vote and cast a ballot.

Speaking as a guest on The Ed Show on MSNBC later that evening, Ted Strickland, who won in 2006 but lost to Republican Gov. John Kasich two years by fewer than 78 thousand votes, called Romney's claim false and pointed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, whose PolitiFact Ohio news evaluation and verification service, graded Romney claim as "False."

Strickland, a Methodist minister and a prison psychologist by training and accreditation, shamed Romney, saying his accusation against the president and his campaign for bring this lawsuit, is both a "shameful accusation" and a "blatant attempt to suppress the right to vote. "All Ohioans, military and nonmilitary should be able to register their votes," he told show Host Ed Schultz, adding that the military shouldn't be used "as military football."

"He is a dishonest person if he has the facts and continues to say what he's saying," Strickland said.

President Obama's re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee have filed a law suit against Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted, arguing it's "arbitrary" to provide three extra days of early, in-person voting to military voters and their families.

Fifteen military groups spoke out in opposition to the Obama campaign's federal lawsuit to restrictmilitary voting in Ohio Monday. According to Bloomberg News, "The National Guard Association of the United States and more than a dozen other fraternal military groups asked a U.S. judge for permission to intervene in and oppose a lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama's campaign challenging the fairness of Ohio's early voting rules."

Romney for President General Counsel Katie Biber responded to the lawsuit in a memo yesterday afternoon: "We disagree with the basic premise that it is ‘arbitrary' and unconstitutional to give three extra days of in-person early voting to military voters and their families, and believe it is a dangerous and offensive argument for President Obama and the DNC to make. It is not only constitutional, but commendable that the Ohio legislature granted military voters and their families this accommodation. It is despicable for the Obama campaign to challenge Ohio's lawful decision."

As reported by PolitiFact Ohio, Republicans who control Ohio's state government passed a law last year that would have reduced the time frame for early voting from five weeks to three, eliminated most weekend voting hours and dropped a requirement that poll workers redirect voters to the correct precinct if they show up at the wrong one in a location that hosts multiple precincts. Ohio legislators repealed that law when it became clear it would face a referendum this year, though its ban on early voting on the weekend before elections remained in place because it was part of a separate law. Democrats including U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown say Republicans wanted to eliminate that weekend's early voting to cut turnout among African-Americans who vote after church, a demographic likely to vote for Obama. Brown said that in 2008, up to 19 percent of Ohio voters cast their ballots during the weekend before the election.

Military speaking out on behalf of the president Monday morning were VoteVets, CAP Action Fund, NSN, and Veterans who alleged Mitt Romney and Ohio Republicans are attempting to restrict the ability of Ohioans-including nearly 1 million veterans-to vote in November's elections. Leaders from VoteVets.org, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, National Security Network, and Ohio and Pennsylvania veterans condemned in a conference call with reporters "the latest chapter in the Republican effort to suppress the votes of millions of Americans."

Adding his voice to the mix, former Democratic congressman John Boccieri of Alliance, a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, issued a statement that accused Republicans of distortion. "This is about restoring equal and fair access to early voting and in no way asks for restrictions to voting," Boccieri, who lost his bid for a second term in Congress in 2010, said. "Anything said otherwise is completely false. Period. And as a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the AMVETS, I find these claims outrageous."

The president's lawsuit does indeed state that it seeks to permit all Ohioans - not just members of the U.S. military - to vote during the three days before the election, as was the case in 2008. Team Obama underscored that the suit "in no way suggests restricting early voting by members of the military."

"It is simply dishonest for Romney and his backers to claim that Obama's effort to extend early voting privileges to everyone in Ohio constitutes an attack on military voters' ability to cast ballots on the weekend before elections," the Plain Dealer's PolitiFact concluded

Strickland told Schultz he expects August 15 to be the lawsuit's first day in court, but warned that while he thinks there's time to protect people's right to vote, the message going forward is to work even harder to get out the vote this fall. "We've got to get our people out to vote as early as possible, " he said, adding that is "reprehensible" for Romney to deprive service men and women of their right to vote.

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